Josh's Story

The best people to tell you what it’s really like to live and learn at Birmingham, are our students. Meet Josh a Care Leaver who has just graduated from Political Science and International Relations at our University.  


What do you think is the best thing about Birmingham’s campus?
The beauty of the campus is honestly incredible. I’m a big fan of architecture and love seeing the historic redbrick buildings. It really feels like I’m at a university when I walk through campus and see the sunlight hitting the buildings that have stood for almost a century!

Was Birmingham’s campus part of the reason you chose to study here? And if so, was there any aspect in particular which stood out?
The Vale Village is honestly incredible. It’s like a mini town within Birmingham full of students and there is always something going on or something to do. That was the standout to me from my open day!

Do you take part in any societies at Birmingham? And if so, which societies and what has your experience of these been?
I’ve been as active as I can at university sitting on committee or competing with the trampolining team, gymnastics team, politics society and mental health and well-being society. Some of my fondest memories and best friends have come from these societies and clubs and my university experience would not be the same without them.

What is the social life like on campus?
Honestly, there is always something to do! There is a society for pretty much every interest you could have and if there is not, you’re free to create it yourself and bring together a brand new group of students. Coming from Birmingham, I thought I knew everything that was on offer but the amount of events that are promoted just to students is phenomenal.

City of Birmingham

What do you love most about Birmingham?
The greatest thing about Birmingham is the diversity of what’s on offer. It is more than just a city. It is a nightlife, cultural and historic hub ready for exploring.

What surprised you about the city when you came on an Open Day Birmingham?
Being from Birmingham, I’d never planned to stay here for university. What sold it to me was the student community of the Vale, Edgbaston and Selly Oak which made the University of Birmingham my home away from home.

If a prospective student was in Birmingham for one day/night only, what would you recommend they do?
I’d definitely recommend exploring one of the many galleries available such as Ikon or Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and finish it off in one of Birmingham’s many cocktail bars. 

Would you consider staying in Birmingham after you graduate?
Birmingham is my home but studying here has given me an even greater appreciation for my city.

What is Birmingham like to live in, as a student?
I’ve travelled to many universities around the country during my time here and I can hand on heart say you will not have a better student experience anywhere but Birmingham. It ticks all the boxes and, if you come here, you will become part of a family.

How do you find Birmingham in terms of cost- do you think it’s good value for money? What do you spend your money on each month?
Renting in Selly Oak in particular can be daunting but there are houses available to accommodate all budgets. Living independently can be hard but Birmingham allows you to cover your expenses whilst still being able to get involved in the student experience – a lot of events etc in Birmingham are available for free too!

Is there anything amazing about Birmingham that you think people don’t know about (bars, cafes, clubs, shops, attractions etc.)
My favourite part of Birmingham is our LGBTQ+ quarter which is growing every day! It’s not solely about the clubs, which I admit I do love, but the community and cultural events that occur their almost every day. There’s always something new to see and something to explore in an inclusive environment.

If you could describe Birmingham in one word or phrase, what would it be?
There is always something for everybody available to see or do in Birmingham. It is thriving in all aspects.


What accommodation did you live in?

What is your experience of living in University accommodation?
It was daunting at first but then I settled right in. Your flatmates can become some of your best friends throughout University and the hall-reps will ensure you get the most out of your time there!

What did you enjoy the most about living in any type student accommodation?
The friendships that I made and the social element is something very important to me.

Where did you live in your 2nd/3rd year?
Selly Oak.

What is the social life like, living in student accommodation?
My university experience wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t live in student accommodation. Some of my best friends to date where my block mates and the social side has created some of my funniest memories during my time here.

What is the best advice you would give to a new student coming to live in university accommodation?
Being nervous is completely normal! Within a week or two this will completely disappear, and you’ll find your feet. It is honestly one of the best experiences you will have in your life.

Cost of Living

Do you think Birmingham is good value for money?
Absolutely! No one night is the same and there are events for all budgets that are all equally as fun!

Where do you do most of your shopping?
Aldi is a lifesaver at uni!

Do you cook more or go out for food?
I like to cook as much as I can and meal prep but I do treat myself more than I should to the occasional takeaway!

What do you make when you cook for yourself?
First year, I pretty much lived on microwave burgers and pizzas! I’ve learned as I’ve gone along and now love making homemade pasta dishes, curries and tray bakes!


Have you taken part in sports at Birmingham?
I competed on the Elite team for Gymnastics and Trampolining clubs.

What is your opinion of Birmingham as a sporting university? And what do you think Birmingham can offer a student who has an interest in sports?
There is a club for everybody here both recreational and competitive. The sport culture is incredibly inclusive with campaigns and sessions aimed at making sure everybody is included.

What piece of advice would you give students who are interested in taking part in sports at Birmingham?
Do it! So many students get to third year and regret not taking up a sport. There are taster sessions in first term to try a club before you commit to it so make the most of it!